The Byrd Theatre, Richmond’s landmark movie palace, has operated almost continuously since its opening in 1928, and always as a movie theater. It has survived its 90-year history without many major alterations to the design or function. In fact, one of the most notable differences may be the price of a movie, which started at just 25 to 50 cents.
When the theater opened, film executives were not yet sure if new talking films would last or if they were just a fad, so the Byrd was outfitted with both a sound synchronization system and the Mighty Wurlitzer organ. This wonderful instrument is still played before every regular Saturday showing by the theater’s organist.
Although the decor and design of the building have stayed much the same over the decades, the theater was renovated to make some modern improvements, such as digital projection, modern heating and air conditioning, and more comfortable seating.
The theater operates 365 days a year, primarily showing second-run films, but also many special events, from movie throwbacks to family classics to director/actor tribute marathons. The Byrd has long been a staple among the local population, and is certainly worth a visit to anyone who appreciates the unique atmosphere of a vintage movie palace.